Sooner Flight Academy Project Wins Award

Sara Groover accepting awardA video project developed by the University of Oklahoma’s Sooner Flight Academy and students from OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism won a Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Best of Festival award during its national convention in Las Vegas April 11-15.

Conceived by Sooner Flight Academy director Matt Esker and brought to life by journalism students Sara Groover and Nick Szabo, the first installment of SFA’s new Aviation Science in the Classroom curriculum program won 1st place in the Instructional/Education category of the BEA’s 2015 Student Video Competition.

Esker created Aviation Science in the Classroom to be a fun, interactive and free resource for Oklahoma teachers to use in their classrooms to inspire students to become leaders in the aviation industry and in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Aviation Science in the Classroom lessons will be ready-to-teach,” Esker said, “with a variety of levels of support available from Sooner Flight Academy. The activities in each lesson will also be aligned with and searchable by Oklahoma Academic Standards.”

The award-winning lesson submitted to the BEA contest was a study of parachutes designed for 5th graders titled “Lookout Below!” In the video, Esker uses simple experiments using everyday items to show a pair of inquisitive kids the scientific principles that make parachutes work.

“The journalism students and their professor did an outstanding job with this project,” Esker said. “I had a wonderful experience working with them and look forward to the next project. They were the epitome of professionalism, and I’m sure they will go on to do amazing things.”

All Best of Festival winners, including winners in other categories from the University of Oklahoma, were honored at the 13th Annual BEA Best of Festival King Foundation Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas on Monday, April 13, as part of BEA2015, BEA’s annual convention. Winners in a total of 17 categories were selected from a pool of over 1,300 entries from more than 150 colleges and universities.

Established in 1955, BEA is the premiere international academic broadcast media organization, featuring a membership of more than 2,500 professors, students and media professionals and approximately 275 college and university departments and schools.

To learn more about Aviation Science in the Classroom and the other educational opportunities that Sooner Flight Academy has to offer students throughout the state of Oklahoma, visit

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Myk Mahaffey

Michael Mahaffey holds degrees in journalism and psychology. He is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience writing for print and digital publications, including award-winning coverage of the rodeo industry. In his spare time, he writes fiction, in addition to tinkering with graphic design and photography.